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Anti-abortion activists ordered to pay damages

February 2, 1999
Web posted at: 3:18 p.m. EST (2018 GMT)

PORTLAND, Oregon (CNN) -- Anti-abortion activists whose controversial Web site, "The Nuremberg Files," struck fear in abortion providers have been ordered by a federal jury to pay nearly $100 million in punitive damages to four abortion doctors, Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs. The jury found that the Web site was making threats against the doctors and others.

Compensatory damages ranged from a few thousand dollars to individual doctors to roughly $400,000 to Planned Parenthood.

The eight-person jury delivered its verdict after a three-week trial in Portland, Oregon.

The plaintiffs, abortion-rights activists seeking $200 million in their lawsuit, say the defendants used thinly veiled tactics of intimidation, such as the practice on the Web site of crossing off the names of slain abortion providers.

The 14 defendants, who also publicized a wanted-style poster called the "Deadly Dozen," maintained during the trial that free speech never killed anybody. They likened themselves to civil rights crusaders engaged in political debate.

Four doctors, Planned Parenthood and a Portland clinic are seeking damages from 12 individuals and two anti-abortion groups -- Advocates for Life Ministries and the American Coalition of Life Activists.

The defendants listed the names of 12 doctors who provided abortions, as well as their addresses, phone numbers and other personal information, on wanted-style posters accusing them of "crimes against humanity."

About 200 names appeared on "The Nuremberg Files" Web site with the names of slain doctors crossed out.

The site attracted national attention last October after Dr. Barnett Slepian was killed by sniper fire in his home outside Buffalo, New York. On the site, his name was crossed through.


RELATED STORIES:
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Jury selection begins in trial over abortion Web site
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FBI checking New Jersey links in doctor shooting
November 12, 1998
Newspaper: Witness in doctor's slaying left 'disturbing' packages
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RELATED SITES:
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
The Nuremberg Files
Abortion Clinics On-Line
The National Abortion Federation
Welcome to Prolife.org
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